In a clear signal that the Common Core State Standards are in hot water in South Carolina, Gov. Nikki Haley told a meeting of a local Republican Party women's club that she was determined to ditch the standards this year because, she said, "We don't ever want to educate South Carolina children like they educate California children."
In a speech to the Greenville County Republican Women's Club on Jan. 16, according to the Anderson Independent Mail, Haley, a Republican who's up for re-election this year, said, "We are telling the legislature: Roll back common core. Let's take it back to South Carolina standards." She added that if Senate Bill 300 (introduced last year for the state's 2013-14 legislative session) reaches her desk, she "absolutely will sign it." In that bill, there's no pause, no mandated review period—just a straightforward move to remove the standards from the state.
A few days ago, my colleague Michele McNeil discussed how in his State of the State speech, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, also a Republican, made remarks that seemed to indicate Indiana would be backing away from the standards. But he wasn't absolutely clear, and the state is officially undertaking a complicated review of the standards. There's no such fuzziness about Haley's remarks, and if you think the race to drop out of common core is a competition, then South Carolina might have just shot into the lead.
Back in 2012, South Carolina was one of the first states to actively and officially consider dropping common core, as my colleague Catherine Gewertz reported. That effort fizzled but didn't truly die, as it turns out. Remember, the common core was adopted in South Carolina in July 2010, before Haley was elected, so she doesn't have a real policy or political investment in the standards the way other governors do.
South Carolina state Superintendent Mick Zais, a common-core opponent, has decided not to run for re-election this year, but there's a decent chance that his replacement will also oppose the standards.